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Cinamingrl's avatar

How many college units must a student complete to attain a Phd?

Asked by Cinamingrl (82points) November 30th, 2011

I’m getting close to finishing my AA in Advertising and Graphic Art. I have 118 units completed. This is because I changed majors twice and also took a lot of electives that I really enjoyed.
I was wondering (because someone once jokingly said that I should have my Phd by now, with all of the time I’ve been in school), how many units does a person need to get their Phd?

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7 Answers

wundayatta's avatar

Generally, there are three years of classes. I think that’s around 3 classes per semester. During that time you take methods courses and probably have developed a research proposal for your dissertation. After that, the fastest people take a year to gather data, analyze it and write the dissertation. Usually people take two years to do that, and it is far from uncommon for people to take 3, 4, 5, even as much as 9 more years to finish their dissertation.

How much time it takes depends on how much time you have and how motivated you are and how much time your department allows. Most graduate students have to work and many have families and all those things take time away from research. That’s why things can drag out.

Sometimes the people who let it drag out are disorganized or not well motivated. Sometimes it’s just life. In either case, the department generally won’t let this drag out forever. Then you finish in the time allotted, or move on somewhere else.

linguaphile's avatar

BAs require about 124–130 credits, depending on the college and major areas chosen (BFAs can get as high as 160 credits required). MAs often require 32 to 40 credits, again depending on the college and major areas, MFAs often require 60+ credits then PhDs might require another 30+ credits. That’s just a very general estimate that doesn’t take into account any course overlaps (i.e. using MA credits toward your PhD).

Simone_De_Beauvoir's avatar

Well, you have to have a BA before you can get a PhD. In my program, you then have to take 60 credits worth of classes, 2 theory exams, pass your orals and only then you can start on your dissertation proposal and research. I can’t remember how many credits my BA was…so I guess if it was around 112 or something like that and you have 118, you’re just about due for a BA…but not a PhD…

Simone_De_Beauvoir's avatar

I just checked the degree was 128 credits and I think I actually had 136 at graduation…that was some years ago…

nikipedia's avatar

In terms of core classes my PhD program includes 5 core classes (20 credits?) + 4 advanced classes (16 credits?). But like, 99% of the degree depends on research, not coursework.

DrBill's avatar

When I went, and where I went was based on 128

128 hours = Associates
Associates + 128 = Bachelors
Bachelors + 128 = Masters
Masters + 128 = PhD

lillycoyote's avatar

@nikipedia And then there’s that whole pesky business of the dissertation. :-)

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